KHAN BANI SAAD, Iraq – Iraqi police stations in Baqouba (search) and Khan Bani Saad (search) came under attack on Saturday, killing at least 12 Iraqis and two homicide bombers, the U.S. military and Iraqi officials said.
Also Saturday, a DHL commercial cargo plane with its wing on fire landed safely at Baghdad International Airport (search) with no reported injuries. Reuters news service reported that the plane had been struck with a surface-to-air missile, but the U.S. military said it was unclear if it had been struck by ground fire or suffered a technical problem.
The first blast rocked the station in Baqouba, a city about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. Minutes later, the second bomb detonated in Khan Bani Saad, a crowded market town about 12 miles south of Baqouba on the road to Baghdad.
Capt. Ryan McCormick of the 4th Infantry Division (search) said the explosion in Khan Bani Saad killed 10 people, including six policemen, three civilians and the bomber. Iraqi police said one of the dead was a 5-year-old girl. Ten people were wounded, McCormick said.
McCormick said a police guard fired on the approaching vehicle but could not prevent the blast. He said there were no U.S. or other coalition casualties.
"I was standing at the gate of the station, washing my car, when I saw a Chevrolet Caprice speed toward the gate," said Sgt. Aqil Suheil, who was wounded in the Khan Bani Saad attack. "I heard a loud explosion. I found myself under the car. I got out quickly and ran toward the street and then lost consciousness."
In Baqouba, 12 miles to the northeast, a white SUV approached the gate to a police station at normal speed but ignored orders to stop and then blew up at the checkpoint, witnesses said.
Three policemen and the driver were killed, and one policeman was missing, Lt. Wisam Ahmed said. At least 10 civilians were hurt. A coalition official said on condition of anonymity that five policemen were killed and 15 were wounded in the attack.
In Mosul, police Col. Abdul-Salam Qanbar, who was in charge of a police force protecting oil installations, was fatally shot Saturday evening while heading to a mosque, a police official said on condition of anonymity.
Police have become walking targets in postwar Iraq because of their cooperation with the coalition. There are about 40,000 police on active duty with another 10,000 undergoing training, the coalition has said. Another 35,000 officers will be trained next year.
No members of the U.S.-led coalition were hurt in the morning rush hour attack, a spokeswoman said.
Since Wednesday, guerrillas have carried out six vehicle bombings, mostly targeting Iraqis supporting the coalition.
A bomb Wednesday night exploded at the home of a pro-U.S. sheik in Ramadi (search). On Thursday, a blast occurred at the offices of a U.S.-allied Kurdish political party in Kirkuk. Late Friday, a truck blew up near the office of a British de-mining company in Irbil.
U.S. military officials said they were warned by intelligence reports to expect an upsurge in attacks, particularly in the province that includes Baqouba, toward the end of Ramadan. Lt. Col. Steve Russell, a battalion commander in the 4th Infantry Division, said U.S. intelligence fears that religious extremists may try to commit "good works" at the end of the holy month by attacking Americans.
Khan Bani Saad and Baqouba are part of the so-called "Sunni Triangle" (search) north and west of the capital that has seen fierce resistance to the U.S.-led occupation.
In Brussels, Belgium, a spokeswoman for DHL said one of its Airbus 300 planes was headed from Baghdad to Bahrain with three crew members on board when it turned around and made an emergency landing. The spokeswoman, Patricia Thomson, said the cause of the emergency was not immediately clear.
A U.S. military spokeswoman, Capt. Carrie Clear, also said the cause of the emergency was under investigation.But a military source said the plane had been struck by a SAM-7 missile, and the damage appeared consistent with effects of such an explosion. A photograph taken from the ground showed flames at the spot where the ailerons and flaps meet on the left wing's trailing edge.
After the emergency landing, DHL canceled its next flight into Baghdad, De Buck said. The delivery company has been making two or three flights a day into Baghdad since June.
The airport, which has been turned into a base for U.S. forces, has not been fully reopened to commercial flights, but civilian freight carriers operate there. The only commercial airline serving Baghdad, Royal Jordanian, said it would suspend flights for three days, but didn't give a reason. AirServ, a South African organization that flies mainly aid workers, said it would continue flights to Baghdad.
In recent weeks, insurgents have shot down five U.S. helicopters using shoulder-fired missiles and rocket propelled grenades. About 40 U.S. servicemen were killed and nearly two dozen injured.
The car bombings occurred a day after guerrillas fired more than a dozen rockets from donkey carts at the Oil Ministry and two hotels used by foreign journalists and civilian defense contractors.
One civilian contractor was wounded when the rockets exploded at the Palestine Hotel and at the nearby Sheraton. There were no casualties at the Oil Ministry, which was closed for the Muslim day of prayer.
The attacks on some of the most heavily guarded buildings in the center of the capital appeared designed to demonstrate that the guerrillas retain the ability to strike at will despite the overwhelming presence of U.S. and Iraqi security forces.
"They're trying to break our will. They're trying to seize the headlines ... but they're militarily insignificant," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military deputy director for operations, said of Friday's attacks.
However, Kimmitt acknowledged the attacks point to "a very clever enemy who knows that we don't have the best intelligence in the world."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.